Bit Depth

We now have 16-bit CDs and 24-bit high-resolution recordings available to us. What are the advantages of a 24-bit word length? Are 24-bit recordings better? How many bits do we really need?

Bit depth (also known as word length) indicates how many bits are used to represent each sample in a digital sampling system. Each sample is a snapshot of a signal or voltage at an instant in time. The CD uses 16 bits to represent the voltage of an audio waveform at each instant in time. Other digital audio systems use different bit depths ranging from 1 to 64 bits. It is important to understand the relationship between bit depth and audio quality. The bit depth sets ...

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John Siau's Forum post about Jitter and A-to-D comparisons

All A/D converters have two forms of jitter: Conversion clock jitter, and interface jitter. These two forms of jitter are very different and have very different consequences. Conversion clock jitter ...

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The music industry is struggling to define High-Resolution Audio or "HRA". In doing so, most have focused on the delivery formats - analog vs. digital, 24-bits vs. 16-bits, 1X vs. 2X and 4X sample rates, PCM vs. DSD, uncompressed vs. compressed.

But, High-Resolution Audio is much more than the delivery format. Read more ...

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This myth goes something like this:

"Analog audio has infinite amplitude resolution, but the resolution of digital audio is limited to a finite number of steps."

While it is true that digital systems quantize the amplitude of the audio signal to the nearest step in the digital encoding system, this does not necessarily mean that digital systems cannot have infinite resolution. Contrary to popular belief, digital systems can provide infinite amplitude resolution if they are properly dithered.

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The performance of the AHB2 would not have been achievable without taking a radical approach to power amplification. In many ways, the AHB2 is a complete 180 degree departure from traditional high-end amplifier designs. There is nothing ordinary about the Benchmark AHB2.  Read more ...

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It's all about control! The movement of headphone transducers must be well controlled in order to produce high-quality audio. It is easy to build a headphone amplifier that produces sound.  It is an entirely different matter to produce an amplifier that is clear, clean, and enjoyable.  

Headphone amplifiers need ...

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Mastering and Recording Engineer, Mark Waldrep (A.K.A. Dr. AIX) recently published an excellent application note titled "My First Server". This is a step-by-step guide for setting up a High-Resolution Audio (HRA) server. He chose a Mac Mini, a Benchmark DAC2 HGC, and the highly-acclaimed Amarra playback software to bring studio-quality playback to his own living room.

With his simple guide, you can join Mark, and enjoy mastering-quality High-Resolution Audio in your room.

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Most people have seen the CE mark on electronic equipment, but few have had the opportunity to witness the tests that are required to conform to the CE specifications. This post takes the reader on a behind-the-scenes photo-tour of the CE tests of Benchmark's new AHB2 power amplifier.

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Many electronic products have a "CE" mark affixed to the product. This mark is mandatory in European markets, but is not required on products sold elsewhere. Few people understand what this mark means and why it is important. It is often a good idea to look for this mark when purchasing a product. It is also important to understand the differences between professional and consumer audio products (as defined in the CE standards).

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What headphones will work best with my new headphone amplifier? What will work best with my portable device? Is headphone impedance important? What is headphone sensitivity?

This application note addresses these common questions and presents some guidelines for selecting headphones with the proper impedance and sensitivity. Read more...

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